THE FUNNY PAPERS: PRINCE VALIANT

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Prince Valiant is the most beautifully drawn of all the classic action-adventure comic strips.  Its author Hal Foster was a brilliant draftsman and just about every image he ever drew was arresting.  He employed large panels that contained lots of detail, but they didn’t work together in a dynamic way, like the shots in a movie, giving the narrative visual momentum.

The strip thus has a kind of static, or perhaps you could say stately, quality — more oriented towards the pictorialism of book illustrations than towards the cinematic energy of most action-adventure strips.  Foster relied heavily on blocks of expository text to move his tales forward from one gorgeous image to the next.

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Still, it’s a delightful and entertaining strip, aesthetically compelling, and the tales themselves are satisfying yarns, full of chivalric derring-do and spectacular fantasy.

Click on the images to enlarge.

2 thoughts on “THE FUNNY PAPERS: PRINCE VALIANT

  1. All the boys loved “Terry and the Pirates,” but I never met a kid who liked “Prince Valiant.” It was never funny, always too slow and the title character was only famous for his hair.

    • “Valiant” is an acquired taste, for sure. I didn’t follow it as a kid — the artwork is what holds my attention now.

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